Intellectual property helps researchers with their entrepreneurship

A patent or utility models protect the creations of people, companies, and enterprises against improper use.
Intellectual property ilustration
In countries like Mexico and others in Latin America, research is required to be applied. (Illustration: Getty Images)

Intellectual property, a mechanism designed to protect inventions, research, and advances, is one of the key components in entrepreneurship and scientific and technology research that becomes enterprises. 

According to Arturo Santos Garcia, director of the Department of Technology Transfer and Scientific-Technological Entrepreneurship at Tec de Monterrey, intellectual property enables emerging businesses and entrepreneurs to safeguard their inventions, trademarks, and designs and helps protect knowledge from improper use. 

A trademark or intellectual property registration might help attract investors or businesses looking to buy innovative technologies. 

Santos just won one of the seven WIPO Global Awards, which recognize the greatest business initiatives and award the strategies that support the protection of their innovations and advancements. 

The Center for Medical and Surgical Retina, run by Arturo, received recognition for its excellent work in creating a nanotechnology platform patent that enables more effective medication delivery in the retina.

A temporary monopoly

According to Santos, intellectual property is a mechanism used to try to safeguard creations of knowledge using, among other things, patents, copyrights, and utility models. 

“A temporary monopoly can be obtained through intellectual property. They will be required to pay royalties to everyone who wants to utilize what you created or innovated.” 

This guarantees the exclusivity of the inventions or goods created over a particular time period, allowing for their commercialization and ensuring interested people, businesses, or organizations that they are working with the knowledge’s creator. 

He notes that having a solid intellectual property strategy could help entrepreneurs in attracting investors or gain access to finance sources, as well as boost their confidence and capacity to succeed in business. 

Intellectual property is essential for encouraging cooperation between businesses and the market in the area of technology transfer, which includes founding a technology-based company or licensing the use of technology developed via scientific research. 

According to Santos, research has to go beyond only remaining on paper or in academic publications and instead produce tangible products or businesses that may support global progress. 

Researchers need to try to challenge that paradigm. Research is good, but in Latin American nations like Mexico, it must be put to use, according to Arturo. 

The director notes that people who want to use their findings to launch their own business must develop a plan, beginning with applying for intellectual property registration. 

Finding out if the item they want to register already exists, is in the public domain, or is already registered under another name and cannot be patented or registered again is the first step. If not, an intellectual property audit registers it. 

The procedure may be executed by academics and entrepreneurs from Tec de Monterrey in the Associated Office of Technological Intelligence. 

The project’s economic and technological feasibility are next evaluated, with the latter offering chances for partnerships with businesses or organizations. 

For instance, agreements are made with businesses that already own the specialized testing equipment through licensing, where intellectual property is once again used to specify how the results will be split between the business owner and the organization providing the technology. 

By registering and patenting the developed technology or product, intellectual property also plays a crucial role when a firm or product is ready to hit the market. 

“When that business is founded, it is referred to as a spin-off, or the technology may be purchased through a license agreement by a bigger business. This will help bring about an essential change, especially in nations like Mexico, and has economic benefits in addition to employment, status, and many other benefits,” explains Santos.

Protecting the knowledge in the medical field 

Santos adds that the obstacles are more significant in the sector of health entrepreneurship, primarily because of the strict regulatory restrictions and standards for quality and safety. 

Protecting intellectual property, however, is essential for having access to possibilities and resources as well as for forming strategic partnerships to bring products to market. 

The process of starting a business and registering intellectual property tends to cost more in the medical industry, especially when there are operations like laboratory testing, some of which initially use animals and eventually people. 

“You need to find a partner, the pharmaceutical business is typically that ally. So, in order to attract interest, you need to have a strong proof of concept. Since you won’t reveal your conclusions in advance and make them public domain, you must also have a patent application,” the expert adds. 

In Santos’ case, the WIPO Global Awards he received were made possible by the intellectual property strategy he and his team developed for their business, the Center for Medical and Surgical Retina, where they spent eight years developing a system to deliver medications to the white tissues inside the eyeball more efficiently. 

The designers of this platform are acknowledged and compensated for its usage due to intellectual property, and it may be utilized by a variety of businesses to produce specialized products and pharmaceuticals using different techniques. 

The director emphasizes how crucial it is to have professional advice in these situations, particularly for researchers who undertake without the necessary information. He, therefore, extends an invitation to the Tec community to contact the Technology Transfer Direction.

“It is crucial for researchers who are also entrepreneurs to keep in mind that they require these partnerships since it is extremely challenging to set up a lab or a production line and sell products independently. Though scientific and technical entrepreneurship takes many forms, intellectual property is a key component. Entrepreneurship is impossible without intellectual property,” he says.

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Asael Villanueva